The Cleveland Browns have been hit hard by the injury bug early in training camp, with one position group taking the brunt of the beating.
The most recent victim is wide receiver Amari Cooper, who suffered a right ankle injury during practice on Monday, Aug. 1. Cleveland.com’s Camryn Justice posted a video via Twitter of the wide receiver after Monday’s incident.
#Browns Amari Cooper was being evaluated after a TD play today but walked to the sideline where he stood as practice came to an end. Kevin Stefanski said he had no injury update yet.
“#Browns Amari Cooper was being evaluated after a TD play today, but walked to the sideline where he stood when practice came to an end,” Justice tweeted. “[Head coach] Kevin Stefanski said he didn’t have an injury update yet.”
Jeff Schudel of The News Herald also reported Monday that Stefanski would provide the public with more information the following day and then offered an optimistic perspective as a witness to both the injury and the events that transpired afterward.
“Don’t quote me, but the way he stood on the field, not favoring his right leg and without a trainer near him, makes me assume it’s not serious,” Schudel wrote on Twitter.
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Four Browns wide receivers suffered injuries in the past two weeks.
Getty ImagesCleveland Browns wide receiver Anthony Schwartz suffered a knee injury during training camp.
The Browns acquired Cooper from the Dallas Cowboys via trade in March in exchange for a fifth-round pick and a sixth-round trade. The four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver has three years and $60 million remaining on his contract, which the team restructured to reduce his salary cap hit in the midst of a costly offseason.
If Cooper avoids a serious injury designation, it will be the first spot of good fortune for the Browns in that department since members of their receiving corps began dropping off. The phenomenon began with a foot injury suffered by third-round draft pick David Bell, who is expected to compete for a starting job in his rookie year. The problem landed Bell on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list where he is likely to remain for at least another week.
The next victim was speedster Anthony Schwartz, who suffered a knee injury last Thursday during practice and was listed as day-to-day 24 hours later. Undrafted free agent Isaiah Weston has carted off the field Saturday with an ACL injury and was cut Monday. Ultimately, it was Cooper who suffered an ankle injury during Monday’s practice session.
The Browns signed wide receiver Derrick Dillon, formerly of the New York Giants and USFL, to take Weston’s place on the roster. Amid all the injury woes, Cleveland has also been urged to re-sign free agent Will Fuller, a former teammate of quarterback Deshaun Watson for four seasons with the Houston Texans.
Watson has been suspended for six games for violating the NFL code of conduct.
Getty Quarterback Deshaun Watson of the Cleveland Browns celebrates as he walks onto the field during the team’s training camp at CrossCountry Mortgage Campus on July 30, 2022, in Berea, Ohio.
On Monday, the Browns received word that Watson would be suspended six games for violations of the NFL’s player conduct policy. That leaves the team with a few options under center, though none of them ideal.
Cleveland can lean on backup Jacoby Brissett, who appears to be the way to go immediately following Watson’s suspension. The franchise could also consider trading with the San Francisco 49ers for veteran Jimmy Garoppolo, who is entering the final year of a five-year contract in 2022. The latter option would cost the Browns $27 million. However, Garoppolo would be an upgrade over Brissett and would also be insurance against losing Watson in future games.
While Watson’s suspension was handed down by the former federal judge and independent arbitrator Sue L. Robinson, under the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with the NFL Players Association (NFLPA), the league reserves the right to file an appeal of her decision within three days of the ruling.
The person who would hear that appeal is NFL commissioner Roger Goodell or someone designated by him, meaning the league could intervene at some point during the next 72 hours and regain full control over Watson’s suspension, likely resulting in its extension.
Should that occur, an investment in Garoppolo would begin to make even more sense, as the two options currently on the list behind Brissett are Josh Dobbs and Josh Rosen.